Best Places to Live

2010 10 Best Film Festivals

It's that time of year, when red carpets roll out and superstars do their best to impress. It's award season, and Hollywood's gearing up for the godfather of award shows: the Oscars. But amidst the glamour of the Golden Globes, the SAGs and the Emmys, lesser known shows are happening over the country in celebration of the films and filmmakers that haven't yet hit the big time. We've compiled a list of some of the best small film festivals around the country – from the action-packed ActionFest in Asheville, NC, to the spooky All Souls Fest in Tuscon, AZ – to give you a taste of what goes on outside of Hollywood.

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Ranking Criteria
Small venues
Community supported
Star studded events
  • 10

    Traverse City , MI

    Population: 15,168
    Photo courtesy of Kris Sexton

    Traverse City Film Festival

    Love him or hate him, Michael Moore has made Traverse City, MI a movie buff paradise – at least for five days a year. The Traverse City Film Festival is still in the amateur league, with only six annual showings under its belt, but it's quickly grown to become one of the largest film festivals in the Midwest.

    The festival is a charitable, educational, nonprofit organization with the hefty goal of saving the cinema. Every summer, filmmakers and movie-goers gather to kick back, relax and celebrate the wonders of the big screen.


    See why Traverse City, MI is ranked one of the best small towns in America. 

    Can't make the late July/early August date? Not to worry, you can still help save the cinema at the festival-owned State Theatre, a mission-driven art house theatre. So what can you expect to see at the festival? Have no fear, even Moore is under wraps here. The festival boasts the slogan of showing “Just Great Movies,” so if great's your style, you can't go wrong.

    There are plenty more attractions in Traverse City, too, so you don't miss out on any fun.